Downtown and Historic Preservation Conference

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The Department of Housing and Community Development presents the Downtown and Historic Preservation Conference on Thursday, June 8, 2017 at the Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction. The event is made possible by a partnership with Northern Stage, Preservation Trust of Vermont, and the Town of Hartford.  The conference will highlight White River Junction's successful revival by bringing new housing, businesses, and jobs downtown. This year’s conference features nationally recognized keynote speaker Joe Minicozzi, who has done the math that proves investing in downtowns not only improves our quality of life and economy, but saves taxpayer dollars.   In addition to the conference sessions and tours, we are providing ample time to network and a reception immediately following the conference.  Registration includes a full day of sessions and tours, light breakfast, lunch, and appetizers at the reception.

Schedule of the Day:

8:00am            Registration and Coffee

9:00am            Welcome and Keynote

10:00am          Networking

10:30am          Morning Session

Noon                Lunch

1:00pm            Afternoon Session 1

2:30pm            Networking

3:00pm            Afternoon Session 2

4:30pm            Reception


  • How to Tell Your Story with Data:  Joe Minicozzi from Urban3 in Asheville, N.C., discusses ways to help local officials capture and analyze data to understand the economics of walkability and mixed-use downtowns and regions. 
  • Placemaking with Complete Streets:   Explore what it takes to get people out of their cars and how to make Vermont’s downtowns and villages more walkable, bikeable, and economically successful.
  • Stimulating the Local Economy Through Arts and Culture:   Vermont has a vibrant arts and culture ecosystem that helps to enrich the fabric of our communities.  The creative sector also plays an integral part in local economies encouraging people to visit, shop or live downtown.  This session will look at strategies non-profit arts based organizations are using to attract people to the arts while supporting local businesses.
  • Housing Solutions for Vermont Downtowns:  Shifting household demographics have created an evolving housing market in Vermont, and getting communities to embrace multifamily housing is a challenge. In this session, investigate new types of downtown housing opportunities and hear the developer’s perspective on strategies to make these projects successful.  
  • New Building Design in Historic Downtowns:   Preservation of our valued historic downtowns and village centers embraces change. Examine great examples of how sensitive rehabilitation and new building design can complement historic downtowns to create opportunities for a thriving local economy.
  • Small Town Retail is On the Rise:  For years, we have heard the heyday of small town retail are over and nothing can be done about it.  Learn about new retail trends and strategies that prove the pundits wrong and how to paint a bright future for Vermont’s small towns and retailers.  
  • Zoning - Getting it Right for Your Town:  We all want thriving, prosperous communities but outdated regulations create barriers and can even prohibit the types of development needed to revitalize our downtowns and villages.  This session examines what’s working, what’s not, and lessons learned on what Vermont communities can do to align their regulations to support the types of development needed to create great places for people to live, work, visit, shop and play.
  • Establishing a Local Historic Preservation Program:  The strongest and most effective tools for historic preservation are established at the local level. The Certified Local Government (CLG) program provides support and funding for local preservation commissions, but is it worth the effort to seek this designation? In this session, learn the benefits and how to start the process for your community directly from those who participating in the CLG program now.
  • White River Junction, Vermont - A Village Architecture Shaped by Transportation Technology:  White River Junction emerged in the summer of 1848, when three railroad companies were linked in a farmers’ fields along the banks of the White River and the Connecticut River. The explosive growth of the village—its subsequent decline and rebirth—is reflected in its architecture, which is highlighted in this richly illustrated presentation.


  • The Resurgence of Downtown White River Junction
  • Walking History Tour of White River Junction

Special Session Offered by Vermont Realtors:

  • Residential Building Energy Code: The Energy Code Class will be offered free to Vermont Realtors® and those wishing to learn more about the Residential Buildings Energy Standards in Vermont.  This class has 2 hrs of continuing education credits for real estate agents holding a Vermont license.  Agents must register for the free class in order to receive the CE certificate. To register for this session, please go to the Vermont Realtors web portal.

Contact Us

Gary Holloway, Downtown Program Coordinator

One National Life Drive
Deane C. Davis Building, 6th Floor
Montpelier, VT 05620-0501